Left asks Supreme Court not to let far Right run

Labor-Gesher joined Blue and White, the Democratic Union and the Reform Movement in filing the appeal, which must be decided by the Court no later than Sunday.

By
August 19, 2019 21:44
1 minute read.
Otzma Yehudit

An ad for the Otzma Yehudit party with Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Bentzi Gopstein on a bus in Jerusalem, March, 2019. (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)

The Supreme Court should overrule the decision of the Central Elections Committee to permit the Far Right Otzma Yehudit party and its leading candidates to run in the September 17 election, a coalition of left-wing parties and groups asked in an appeal filed on Monday.

The committee voted narrowly last Thursday to allow Otzma and candidates Itamar Ben-Gvir, Baruch Marzel and Bentzi Gopstein to run. The petition to the committee against Otzma only failed because one of the Labor’s representatives missed the vote by mistake.

Labor-Gesher joined Blue and White, the Democratic Union and the Reform Movement in filing the appeal, which must be decided by the Court no later than Sunday. The only time the Court ever overruled a decision to not disqualify a candidate came ahead of the April election, with then-Otzma candidate Michael Ben-Ari.

Democratic Union co-chairwoman Stav Shaffir, who was part of the team that got Ben-Ari disqualifed, vowed to succeed again. “The Kahanists cannot be treated with kid gloves,” Shaffir said. “Going easy on them allowed them to become media stars and silence people in the Knesset. I have news for them: We are not afraid of them.”

Labor-Gesher candidate Revital Swid, a veteran lawyer who like Shaffir is a former Zionist Union MK, came to the Supreme Court to the file the appeal. “There is no room for racism and racists in the Knesset,” Swid said. “Racism against a fifth of the population should not be protected in the name of freedom of expression.”

Ben-Gvir said he took the appeal as a compliment. He said the left-wing parties understood that a right-wing government can only be formed if Otzma is allowed to run and crosses the 3.25% electoral threshold.

He added that the appeal from Labor was particularly disturbing because Labor leader Amir Peretz has met recently with convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti. “Those who meet with terrorists with the blood of thousands of Jews on their hands cannot scold us,” Ben-Gvir said.

Otzma is not expected to succeed in gathering enough signatures from members of the election committee to try to prevent the Joint List from running by Tuesday’s deadline to appeal to the Supreme Court.


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